Last month, I wrote about my intention to try to slow down a little bit in Lent or, at least to try and live a bit more in the present, taking time to notice what’s around me rather than just rushing on to the next thing. Well, I’d be lying if I said I’d cracked it and that I am now almost zen-like in my awareness but I have definitely improved!! I guess that I have been more aware of my intention through Lent and so have made an effort to create space rather than just make excuses as to why I haven’t.
One deliberate effort was to sign up for a Clergy Quiet Day at the Bishop’s house in St. Albans....the theory being that I was less likely to cancel on my boss!! It worked and I duly turned up at Abbey Gate House along with some other clergy colleagues and we spent the day in quiet study and reflection.
The theme of the day was Journeying with the Psalms and we reflected on three of them, Psalms 29, 22 and 51. Bishop Alan led us in a study of each of the Psalms in turn and then there was time for us to sit back and meditate on our thoughts in front of a rather splendid log fire in his
The theme of Psalm 29 was ‘Giving Praise to God’, Psalm 22 ‘How to pray when you are suffering’ and Psalm 51 ‘How to pray when you’ve messed up’. I was particularly taken with the last one, Psalm 51, and David’s total realisation of just how much he had stuffed up. The magnitude of the damage he had caused brought David to a place where he knew that there was no repairing what he had done, he just had to face it and trust that God would make something new and good come out of his place of brokenness.
I think that there is a lesson in that for all of us, that sometimes we don’t get things right and sometimes the consequences of our actions have very far reaching effects and there is little we can do to make amends. But that if we, like David, allow God to meet us in the depths of the mess we have created, and give up trying to dig our own way out, then God will help us to build up something new and good from the wreckage.
I got a lot from the quiet day, it was good to have the time and space to really reflect and it has encouraged me to keep on making the effort to carve time out of the day to day busyness. Mind you, I might just skip ‘reflecting’ in front of a log fire as there was a point when I lost a whole hour and was only awoken by my own very loud snore, which was only surpassed by the snores of another nameless vicar who was ‘reflecting’ in the other chair!!!
With love - Ginni